‘You’ve Gone Seriously The Wrong Way’

Anyone who has followed my ramblings around  The New Forest during our eighteen months in Minstead, and realised my propensity for making slight navigational errors, should enjoy this post.Maple leaf duckling

As I walked down the garden path preparing to take my usual route to Giles’s, I noticed a bright red-tipped butterfly bearing a Lilliputian duckling flitting across an ornamental maple.

Downton LaneTelegraph engineerStrong shadows were cast on Downton Lane, where an engineer perched on a telegraph pole informed his mate on the ground below that ‘it’s a bit dodgy’. For my money it was his position that was dodgy, but I don’t suppose that was what he meant.

Raucous rooks, flying to and from their nests, are now resident in Shorefield.

Rook in flight

StreamDogs seeking ballKatie seeking ballI had a coffee and a chat with Giles before setting off back home. At the corner of Studland Drive and Blackbush Road I noticed a footpath. I took it. Very soon I was in the Nature Reserve. So far, so good. I walked along the stream where I was entertained by Katie, and another dog which tried to help her, but soon gave up and sniffed off somewhere else. She struggled to retrieve her ball, caught in an inlet where it was held by the strong current. Her owner, explaining that she was actually a strong swimmer, but could not manage the slope down to the water, joined in, but eventually he had to persuade his pet to leave her prey. She was very reluctant to leave, as was the owner who said it was pity because the ball was a good one.

I left the reserve at this point, taking a footpath to the left which should have taken me to the coast road. I found myself in George Road, along which I walked into Manor Road, and eventually Lymington Road. I turned right here, and left into the narrow, winding School Lane, from which there was a tantalising view of the coast.Distant coastline

I came out at another main-looking road and turned right into it. A tempting public footpath led me through a muddy brassica patch, from which I reached another winding lane leading me to a thick-root-filled mudbath masquerading as a footpath. This took periodic right angles around fields, one of which contained black sheep.Black sheepGreat Newbridge Copse

As the sun gradually sank in the sky, I persevered until reaching a board describing Great Newbridge Copse. There I met a very helpful woman who, when she heard where I had come from and where I intended to get to, informed me that I had ‘gone seriously the wrong way’. I said ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’. She advised me to turn right and follow another sodden track until I emerged at Efford Mill, where I should turn right along Christchurch Road. I met more sheep along the way. One particular ram stared in such a way as to suggest he was questioning my sanity.Sheep

Trees against sky

Knowing that we lived two miles from New Milton, when I passed a sign indicating that that town was five miles distant, I must admit I blenched a bit. Finally, having spent half an hour with my friend I arrived home four hours after I started. That hadn’t really been the plan.

This evening the chicken jalfrezi (recipe) and savoury rice were as good as they were two days ago. So were the beverages. We know, because we enjoyed them again.

 

Finishing Touches

Chinese cabinet on chest of drawersWe have a long, but not tall, Chinese oak cabinet which has gone up and down stairs in our new home like a yo-yo. The library had seemed its most likely final resting place.  The almost completed project no longer offered space for it. So back upstairs we carted it. When I bought the chests of drawers from Fergusson’s, one was intended to stand beneath this piece of furniture. We had second thoughts. Now we have thought again.

I then emptied the last four boxes of books; Jackie got out the vacuum cleaner; and we set about transporting the games table into the library. Had we not covered the garage door this would have been quite a simple matter. But we had. So it wasn’t.

The table was surplus to requirements in the sitting room. We carried it into the hall, intending to take it through the kitchen into the library. We couldn’t get it into the kitchen. So we took the casters off. We got it into the kitchen cupboard known as the glory hole. We couldn’t get it out into the kitchen itself. So we shifted it back into the hall and had a think.

I then had the bright, albeit somewhat tardy, idea of taking it out through the front door, round the side of the house, and in through the back door which now leads straight into the library. This worked like a dream. When I suggested to Jackie that we may not have needed to remove the casters, she suggested that I should not ‘even go there’.

LibraryThe legs of the piece had taken a bit of scuffing in its various moves, so Jackie applied wood stain to the wounds and polish to both limbs and surface. A piece of string held the slightly loosened leg in place whilst the glue dried.

The carpet that Michael had given us had just one grease mark on it. To complete the creation of the room my lady got down and scrubbed this with an application of Vanish. She fixed a clock to the side of one of the bookcases.

Still visible in one corner of the library are a handful of Safestore boxes containing a selection of volumes for a charity stall our friend Heather is running in August.

PhotiniaPhotinia bloomsA wander round the garden followed. The bungalow next door has been unoccupied for many years and such fence as there ever was between this and our property has been swamped by shrubs, one of which is a photinia. We think it is not ours, but never mind it blooms in our garden.

Yellow flowered shrub - Version 2There are also a couple of yellow flowering shrubs we could not identify until Jackie’s research revealed them to be corokia cotoneasters which originate in New Zealand.

Yellow flowered shrub

The copper beech is now in full leaf.Copper beech

White was the dominant colour of the hedgerows in Downton Lane as I took an early evening walk into a fierce headwind coming off the Solent.StitchwortMay

Cow parsley, stitchwort and may blossom have replaced the yellow daffodils and dandelions.

Rooks struggled against the wind to keep their bearings as they winged to and fro to their now clamouring chicks.Rook in flight

It was an evening for kite surfing such as my friend John Smith would relish.

Kitesurfers descendingKite surfers setting upSeascapeSeascape with kite surferSeascape with kite surfersKite surfers & yachtKite surfer, shingle, Isle if Wight & The NeedlesKite surfer & The NeedlesAs I arrived at the coastline a lone surfer was about to be joined by others walking down the steps from Hordle Cliff top. They were still setting up by the time I left the beach on which the rollers were again piling up the shingle. An intrepid yachts person was seen in the distance, and the Isle of Wight and The Needles made a landmark backdrop to the scene. Kite surfer in seaThe surfer didn’t manage to keep out of the water.

Hordle Chinese Takeaway provided a spread for our evening meal. The Co-op’s cheesecake was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegarden and I finished the chianti.

Downton

We are running out of storage space, so Jackie and I visited David Fergusson’s House Clearance shop in Highcliffe, where we bought three chests of drawers which will be delivered next week. There we met the fascinating proprietor who has an impressive knowledge of art. He is still waiting for that miraculous find, but clearly appreciates and values some of the items he collects. They do not all find their way into his shop. His home must be a treasure trove.

It is not now quite so scary a prospect to accommodate the belongings we then collected from Shelly and Ron’s afterwards. At their home we also met Anthony, their son, Jane their daughter, and her boyfriend Chris. Ron is recovering from his operation on his broken heel. We had an enjoyable chat with welcome mugs of coffee.Garden

CamelliaBee in tree peonyWeeping birchOur garden becomes more resplendent as the month proceeds. Another Camellia is in bloom, as is a tree peony offering shelter to a bee. The elegant weeping birch flickers with dangling new leaves.

DowntonThe SolentBonfire & Isle of WightRook & seagullAfter lunch I walked down Downton Lane, taking the footpath off to the right. From the stubbled field alongside, I could see the original hamlet of Downton stretched out along Christchurch Road. Enlarging the picture offers a glimpse of our pale blue washed house centre right. To the left The Solent sparkled in the distance, and the cloudy smoke from a bonfire blended well with the bulky form of the Isle of Wight.

A solitary rook vied with the seagulls for pickings from a recently ploughed field.

BluebellsWood anemoneGorseBluebell bankLandscapeLandscape 2Landscape 3I took the left turn alongside the bluebell wood which also contained wood anemones among many other wild flowers. After crossing the stream I optimistically diverged from the marked path, turned left through an opening in the barbed wire fence and circumperabulated a steep grassy field with clumps of gorse at its summit, looking down on a splendid bluebell bank beside the road.

It soon became apparent that there was no other egress, so I retraced my steps and returned home.

This evening Jackie fed Flo and me (and herself) on Pizza and penne bolognese sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Strawberry jelly and Kelly’s Cornish clotted cream ice cream. I finished the Isla Negra and Jackie drank a little more of her Hoegaarden.

As I post this, I am listening to the ticking of two clocks. One, keeping perfect time, is a battery operated modern one bought by Jackie in one of Morden’s ‘cheapie places’. The other, a splendid reproduction station waiting room clock was given to Jessica and me by Michael when he was seventeen. It still needs a little adjustment to its new environment as it loses a few minutes a day. This is the clock that survived being stolen with the rosewood wine table that stands beneath it.